Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pip! Pip! Hooray?

Hello friends,
How has your week been? Any adventures? I'll tell you about my adventure with wildlife this week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

hola blogland,

I've missed you! I suppose I've been on a sort of computer/internet hiatus. If it gives you any idea, I just noticed that my desktop calender is November's! One of my goals for this year was to get back into school. Health issues and other life events forced to take a very long break so, I'm very happy to be back on track. Between work and school, I've really had to budget my "free" time. I'm pretty terrible at this so, hopefully I'll improve my time budgeting skills!

I'm not that surprised I haven't even noticed my old November calender because I've pretty much been going nonstop since then. I decided to make about 90% of my Christmas gifts and though it was a lot of hard work I'm really happy that I did it. In December I made and finished more than 15 knitted or crocheted items. Woo! I did find the time to pick up this cutie at an estate sale.

In January I:
read: The hilarious Office writer/actress Mindy Kaling's new book Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me?(And Other Concerns)
watched: Firefly and Syfy's Face Off
started a new project: Tracey's Alethea Shawl
discovered: some fabulous Wonder Woman art by Victoria Ying

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We collectors

often collect strange things.

A few months ago I had the pleasure of watching Unlikely Treasures. I immediately thought to myself, "These are my people."
 I loved this quote from the film,
"I am the curator of the museum of my brain."
I suppose the museum of your brain can become a tangible thing. I sometimes compare my house to  a magpie's nest -literally filled with scraps of yarn, shiny bits, and my collections. I don't know exactly why I collect certain things. Of course some collectibles make sense -sentimental reasons or for decorating. Some collections are common and lots of other people collect the same items. As for other things, I don't have such an easy time explaining it. Found grocery lists, found polaroids of unremarkable buildings, why hang on to these things? Why even pick them up and keep them? I don't know. I'm drawn to ephemera, or some might might say- trash.
old postcards and a found polaroid photo

I starting collecting other people's old photos in high school. I think it started when I was going through a box of postcards looking for the little messages written on the back. Next to it was a box of old family photos. At first, I thought how sad it was that no one in the family wanted these photos. I started going through them. There were candids, posed photos, holiday and vacation photos; even some very old ones. An entire family history in a cardboard box. I decided I would take some home and I would appreciate them.

I used to think this was an unlikely treasure but, evidently there are quite a few people who collect other people's photos. There's a wonderful documentary on the subject, you can find info & a trailer about it here.

I'm especially drawn to candids, people with their pets, and anything unusual. Some of my favorites are of a zoo from the 30s, pictures of someone's television in '69 when they landed on the moon. And  this silly fellow doing a handstand. These collections don't really serve a purpose. I don't even have a fraction of them on display. Most of them sit in boxes. But, I do enjoy them.
In both of the films compulsion is hinted at. The collectors are presented as quirky and maybe even obsessive. Is there a fine line between hoarding and collecting or is it more clearly defined? There are a lot of popular television shows that deal with these piles and piles of stuff, whether it's Hoarders or American Pickers. Is this an American phenomenon? The result of a consumer culture where items that last a long time are meant to be thrown away and replaced? Maybe we collectors are a little like historians, curating the museums of our minds and anything else that catches the magpie's eye.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Emerald City Hat

Been doing a lot of hooking lately. Here's my latest FO. Made with Manos Del Uruguay (lovely!) Maxima and the Bonita hat pattern from Tales From the Hook. I think it goes well with my recently dyed red hairs.

xoxo, k

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Canning Adventures

the fruits of my labors

I've wanted to try my hand at canning for quite awhile but, honestly I was just too intimidated. Too me it seemed complicated and I was sure my efforts would end in disaster. My Aunt Kathy is a fabulous southern cook. Growing up she'd always have something tasty cooking for us kids. We even got to enjoy her somewhat exotic muscadine jelly and pear honey. I'll have to ask her someday for her tips and recipes.
With my pears threatening to go bad I finally decided to take the plunge and try this canning thing out. I searched for recipes & tips on the internet. I eventually settled on two recipes. Ginger Pear Jam from Vegetarian Times and Spiced Pear Chutney from Canning & Preserving with Ashley English. 

Here's a quick review on Canning & Preserving. Ashley English is a contributor for Design*Sponge so, I had high hopes. I also have Keeping Bees from this author (courtesy of Ms. Molly over at A Foothill Home Companion, thanks again!).  I really love the Homemade Living series -great layouts, beautiful photographs and they truly are educational. I picked this book up at the library and I'm so glad I did. If you are a canning newbie this book will be indispensable.  In addition to recipes this book was filled with step by step pictures, detailed instructions, and all the info you need to quell your fears about poisoning your loved ones with botulism. (Srsly, I am really paranoid about this.) I really learned a lot from this book. Now I'm much more confident.
I did have to buy a few supplies. I bought a utensil set from Ball at the supermarket. I also purchased a large stockpot since I didn't have anything large enough. It's also really important to buy top notch ingredients like pure cane sugar. If any of your ingredients especially your main veggie or fruit are below par you will taste it.

From the cooking to the sterilizing to the processing I spent the better half of a day on my jars of deliciousness. But, once I heard the lids popping (letting me know they were properly sealed) it was all worth it. I found the whole process to be so satisfying. From picking my own pears, purchasing organic/fair trade ingredients, cooking, and finally eating the results -wow, such a good feeling. Success!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pear-Cranberry-Ginger Jar Pies

 I know I'm a little late to the pie-in-a-jar party but, I'm definitely hooked now. It's just fun to say "pie in a jar" it even makes me want to add "What will they think of next?!"

I upped the cuteness factor with fall themed pie crust cutters. I love how easy these are to share and when I want a bite of pie I just pop one in the microwave. I got the recipe from the aptly named Cutie Pies:40 Sweet, Savory and Adorable Recipes. And with a name like that how could I not check it out? The recipes are from the brick and mortar pie shop, High 5 Pie. It probably doesn't look any thing like The Pie Hole but I can dream.
These were so fun and easy to make. The cranberries smelled amazing while they were cooking. I even saved some of the cranberry sugar syrup for a later experiment. (I found a recipe for pear infused vodka)

Have you ever tried pie in a jar? What's your favorite kind of pie? Or do you prefer another sweet treat?